At exactly 4:07 pm yesterday, July 1st, used-to-be L.A. Clipper J.J. Redick tweeted, “Trust the process” and the word was out: Redick will be taking his silky smooth shot to the City of Brotherly Love. The 33-year-old Duke graduate, the recipient of a lucrative 1-year, $23 million deal, has Process Trusters elated as they play over in their head the musings of a near future Marc Zumoff call: “Simmons driving. Kicks to Redick. J.J. from three…. GOT IT!”
Redick is one of the most prolific 3PT shooters in NBA history, with a percentage that ranks him 14th all time. What may entice the Sixers even more regarding Redick is his ability to sling it from 3PT territory in catch-and-shoot scenarios, with Redick’s percentage in those situations jumping up to 44.9%(!!!) for this past season, good enough to rank 5th best in the league amongst players taking at least 3 catch-and-shoot 3PTs a game. J.J. worked hard to get those looks, running in and out of screens non-stop in the Clippers motion offense. CBS Sports’ James Herbert remarks of Redick, “He is the kind of player who can transform an offense with his ability to use screens and knock down 3s on the move.” And transform, he will.
With Joel Embiid abusing the paint like it owes him money, teams direct a lot of attention his way when he’s fed the rock down there. Don’t take my word for it, just take a peep at some of these in-game situations in which team’s give JoJo more attention than a TSA agent gives a guy in a Grateful Dead shirt flying out of Denver:
Teams are able to put so much effort and manpower into slowing Embiid down because the Sixers deficiency in the shooters department. Or to put it another way, Nik Stauskas and Robert Covington* hanging around the 3PT line aren’t scaring anyone. But if you sleep on J.J., he will punish you. Look at John Wall’s body language on this play once he realizes he hit the snooze button on Redick:
Redick’s presence alone is going to do tremendous things for the Sixers ability to space the floor. That opens up the paint for Embiid, but it also will have an impact on the other guys on the squad as well. With a pass-first ball handler in Ben Simmons, the fear is that his lack of shooting ability will hamper his ability to create, as teams will sag off him and challenge him to hit mid-range jumpers, all the while clogging the lane as other defenders treat [insert Sixers backcourt player here] like one of those fans “randomly” plucked from the crowd to hit a $50,000 half court shot. “Yeah.. we’re REAL scared you’re gonna hit this..” But defenders simply can’t leave Redick alone. In addition to making defenders stay honest, Redick is always moving, diverting attention away from the ball handler. Seriously, watch any Clippers game from the past 4 years and you can see Redick running through 3 off-ball screens on a single possession, over, and over, and over again. What this will do is space the floor to allow the Sixers to dictate ball flow, rather than defenses funneling in on Embiid and forcing Embiid to work his ass off to get a bucket.
And it’s not only spacing the floor that Redick offers. A week ago, rookie Markelle Fultz was viewed as the guy that’s going to have to hit knock down jumpers for the team. And he will still have to do that, but he won’t be the only one who has to. This alleviates a ton of pressure on a first-year player of which expectations are high. Furthermore, as my colleague Bill Leemon pointed out to me, Redick is the first high profile free agent to join the Sixers since the start of the Hinkie era, as Philly was previously the last place on earth a self-respecting veteran would sign (sorry, Gerald Henderson.) This is extremely important. If you read my last article, you remember that I touched on the Sixers possibility of adding a star player a year or two from now. Redick singing in Philadelphia is a movement out of the basement for the Sixers and a step in the direction of becoming a desirable place to play.
The Redick signing is a win on every level. Even as far as the finances go, the Sixers have to hit the salary cap floor. Instead of having to sign 3 or 4 veterans to get to that floor, creating roster casualties of players with upside, the Sixers are able to retain guys like Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot , TJ McConnell and Richaun Holmes. The entire Sixers offense just took a step up with the addition of Redick and I am ecstatic to see how it plays out on the court. Is it October yet?
*My love for RoCo is well documented, but he simply doesn’t hit at a consistent enough clip to draw attention.